No more plastic bag wastes!!!
Saturday 30 November 2013

No more plastic bag wastes!!!

A group of researchers from University of Adelaide have developed a process for converting waste plastic bags into high tech Nano material.

Carbon nanotube membranes for potential advanced applications including filtration, sensing, energy storage and a range of biomedical innovations. can be made by using these non-biodegradable plastic bags. Nanotechnology finds an innovative go green way.

“Non-biodegradable plastic bags are always serious issue in the ecosystems." says Professor Dusan Losic, ARC Future Fellow and Research Professor of Nanotechnology in the University's School of Chemical Engineering. "Transforming these waste materials through 'Nano technological recycling' provides a potential solution for minimizing environmental pollution at the same time as producing high-added value products."

Carbon nanotubes are tiny cylinders of carbon atoms, one nanometer in diameter (1/10,000 the diameter of a human hair). They are the strongest and stiffest materials yet discovered—hundreds of times stronger than steel but six times lighter—and their unique mechanical, electrical, thermal and transport properties present exciting opportunities for research and development. They are already used in a variety of industries including in electronics, sports equipment, long-lasting batteries, sensing devices and wind turbines.

The Univ. of Adelaide's Nanotech Research Group has “grown” the carbon nanotubes onto nanoporous alumina membranes. They used pieces of grocery plastic bags which were vaporized in a furnace to produce carbon layers that line the pores in the membrane to make the tiny cylinders (the carbon nanotubes). The idea was conceived and carried out by PhD student Tariq Altalhi.

"Initially we used ethanol to produce the carbon nanotubes," says Professor Losic. "But my student had the idea that any carbon source should be useable."

The huge potential market for carbon nanotubes hinges on industry's ability to produce large quantities more cheaply and uniformly. Current synthesis methods usually involve complex processes and equipment, and most companies on the market measure production output in only several grams per day.

"In our laboratory, we've developed a new and simplified method of fabrication with controllable dimensions and shapes, and using a waste product as the carbon source," says Professor Losic.

The process is also catalyst and solvent free, which means the plastic waste can be used without generating poisonous compounds.